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Intercomparison of general circulation models for hot extrasolar planets

Polichtchouk, I., Cho, J. Y.-K., Watkins, C., Thrastarson, H. T., Umurhan, O. M. and de la Torre Juárez, M. (2014) Intercomparison of general circulation models for hot extrasolar planets. Icarus, 229. pp. 355-377. ISSN 0019-1035

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2013.11.027


We compare five general circulation models (GCMs) which have been recently used to study hot extrasolar planet atmospheres (BOB, CAM, IGCM, MITgcm, and PEQMOD), under three test cases useful for assessing model convergence and accuracy. Such a broad, detailed intercomparison has not been performed thus far for extrasolar planets study. The models considered all solve the traditional primitive equations, but employ di↵erent numerical algorithms or grids (e.g., pseudospectral and finite volume, with the latter separately in longitude-latitude and ‘cubed-sphere’ grids). The test cases are chosen to cleanly address specific aspects of the behaviors typically reported in hot extrasolar planet simulations: 1) steady-state, 2) nonlinearly evolving baroclinic wave, and 3) response to fast timescale thermal relaxation. When initialized with a steady jet, all models maintain the steadiness, as they should—except MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid. A very good agreement is obtained for a baroclinic wave evolving from an initial instability in pseudospectral models (only). However, exact numerical convergence is still not achieved across the pseudospectral models: amplitudes and phases are observably di↵erent. When subject to a typical ‘hot-Jupiter’-like forcing, all five models show quantitatively di↵erent behavior—although qualitatively similar, time-variable, quadrupole-dominated flows are produced. Hence, as have been advocated in several past studies, specific quantitative predictions (such as the location of large vortices and hot regions) by GCMs should be viewed with caution. Overall, in the tests considered here, pseudospectral models in pressure coordinate (PEBOB and PEQMOD) perform the best and MITgcm in cubed-sphere grid performs the worst.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:38492
Uncontrolled Keywords:Extra-solar planets; Atmospheres, dynamics; Meteorology


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